Alfred "Al, Papa" Beale, Sr., a dominant figure on the local car racing scene who won more than 200 races, died Thursday at his home. He was 69.
He died of a heart attack, family members said.
His son, Al Beale, Jr., said his father was bitten by the racing bug when he was still a student at Whitmer High School.
"One night, he went to the racing track with one of his friends and after that night, he knew he wanted to be a race car driver," said his son. At 16, his parents didn't approve of his racing exploits, so he worked two jobs to support his newfound sport, his son said.
Soon after graduating from high school in 1953, Mr. Beale turned his first car, a 1952 Ford coupe, into a racing car.
"He was very competitive and loved to tell stories about racing," said his son.
Mr. Beale and his older brother, Rollie, dominated the racing scene in Toledo for more than 10 years, often competing against each other for the top spot.
In 1960, Mr. Beale won the first race at Toledo Speedway, and also won the first track championship held here. In the 1950s, he and his brother won many championships at Toledo Raceway Park on both the quarter-mile and half-mile tracks.
He also won races on tracks in Fremont, Wauseon, Sandusky, Mansfield, Adrian, and Jackson, Mich. He won more than 200 feature-event races in his career.
But his son said the race he talked about the most was the first championship he won at the Toledo Speedway.
"He was very proud to be a part of the history of racing in Toledo," said his son.
Mr. Beale, a member of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, retired after a 30-year career in 1998. In his retirement, he loved to go fishing, and hunting, and doing crossword puzzles.
He had also recently served as a racing official at the American Racing Club of America RE/MAX Series racing championship at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
Surviving are daughters Debbie Klockowski, Cindy Roach, Karen Skelton, Kim Johnson, Chere Beale; son, Al Beale, Jr., 10 grandchildren, and brother Rollie. Ruth Rombkowski Beale, his wife, died in October, 1994.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today in the Sujkowski Funeral Home, Northpointe. Funeral services will be held at 10: 30 a.m. tomorrow at the funeral home.
The family suggests tributes to the National Neurofibromatosis Children's Tumor Foundation.
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